5 Free Things To Do In Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark’s capital is enticing at any time, but especially in summer, when it is doused in Scandinavian sunshine. It’s a great place for hiking, relaxing at the beach, doing some window shopping, lunching on the run, dining with the locals, taking stunning day trips, walking in the park and having an amazing cultural experience.

The view of Copenhagen
The view of Copenhagen

Moreover, Copenhagen offers plenty of things and sightseeing spots to explore on the budget. Most of them are free and fun, so make sure you don’t miss them out:

1. Explore the picturesque waterfront locale of Nyhavn.

Dating from the 17th century, its waterfront location, together with the rows of colorful town houses, lends the area a scenic and relaxing ambience. Cafes and bars line the sunny northern canal front and are great places for lunch and coffee together.

Nyhavn
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

The area has not always had such a tranquil and attractive presence, however. In the 17th century it was a busy port where fishermen came to unload their catch while merchant ships dealt with other cargo. Nyhavn was still used as a port up until the end of World War II, but fell into neglect after the time. Restoration programs in the 1960s to 1970s resulted in the inner section of Nyhavn being reinvented as a Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour, with beautifully restored old ships including the Lightvessel XVII Gedser Rev, dating from 1895; the smuggling vessel MA-RI, dating from 1920; the fine chalk transporter schooner Mira, dating from 1898; and the Boat Theater, which since 1972 has functioned as a theater boat.

Water canals
Water canals

Other attractions at Nyhavn include the Memorial Anchor, a monument honouring the Danish officers and sailors who died during World War II. Canal tours run frequently, giving great insights into the area’s rich historical legacy.

2. Visit National Museum.

Denmark’s National Museum has exhibitions from the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History. If you want, you can tour the museum in an hour with a self-guided tour which includes The History Tour of Denmark, The Family Tour, and The Tour around the World. In July, August, and September there are guided tours in English and they are free of charge. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 till 17:00.

Frederik's Church), Copenhagen
Frederik’s Church

3. Watch the Changing of the Guard.

If you have been to London and you miss your experience of watching the changing of the guard, you should head to the Amalienborg Castle on the harbour front to watch the Changing of the Guard – or “Vagtparade” in Danish – which takes place at noon every day. Expect blue trouser-clad soldiers marching round to rousing music, bellowing orders!

"Vagtparade”in Copenhagen
“Vagtparade”in Copenhagen

4. Have a picnic at the beach.

One of the most visited Copenhagen spots is Amager Strand, a beach located 5km from the centre. You can easily get there by taking the metro to Amager Strand or Femøren, or bus number 12). Pack some healthy snacks and have a picnic with locals!

One of the most popular types of Danish pastry is the snegl (snail), which is a spiral cake packed full of cinnamon and butter, and topped with icing sugar.
One of the most popular types of Danish pastry is the snegl (snail), which is a spiral cake packed full of cinnamon and butter, and topped with icing sugar.

 5. Visit the Little Mermaid.

Copenhagen’s biggest – and smallest – icon, the Little Mermaid is a diminutive statue sitting at the end of the Langelinie promenade. It’s free to go and pay her a somewhat more deferential visit.

the Little Mermaid
the Little Mermaid

Have you been to Copenhagen? If so, would you add any things/places/spots to visit and experience for free?

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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48 thoughts on “5 Free Things To Do In Copenhagen, Denmark”

  1. Great tips Agness. I do not know much about COpenhagen even though it’s quite close to home. It looks magnificent and I hope to visit it some time soon.

  2. I wish I had been to Copenhagen but I’m afraid I haven’t yet. I love pic-nic especially by the sea and the canals are always awesome. :)

  3. Anu @ Country Hopping Couple

    I have long been thinking of going to Copenhagen especially to see their colorful houses along the harbour! Your pictures are gorgeous and inviting!

  4. Mike | Earthdrifter

    Copenhagen is a city I could live in. I’d buy a bike and use that as my zero dollars a day transportation mode. Ideally it’d give me a great cardio workout almost daily too.

  5. Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities Agness! I would also recommend going to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, it’s an amazing art museum and free on Sundays. And if anyone wants to see modern Scandinavian architecture then head to the Black Diamond Library.

    I didn’t go to the beach so will definitely hop on the bus when I’m next there!

  6. Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    Great tips :) We’re hoping to make it to Copenhagen when we are in Europe this spring, so these will be good to know :D A picnic by the sea sounds particularly lovely- might need to have one of those today here in Mexico!

  7. I have never been to Copenhagen but it sounds delightful! My first choice would be lunch on the beach…with a real mermaid! :)

  8. It’s true… Copenhagen is such a picturesque place, one really only needs a camera (or a pair of functioning eye balls) to enjoy the place. I’m also all for the picnic. Had one there last summer with one of my best friends, her baby and my boyfriend. Such a great way to spend a cozy Danish afternoon.

  9. I have never been to Copenhagen but I would for sure put all your tips on my list should I go one day. Those colorful houses on the water canals are just stunning.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      You should definitely make it there soon. It’s a lovely and charming city, full of budget attractions!

  10. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    Ohh, I had no idea the Little Mermaid (one of my favorite Disney characters ever!) was here! And I love those brightly painted homes on the canal! Bookmarked for a trip to Copenhagen someday!;-)

  11. I don’t usually think of Copenhagen and free in the same sentence. What a great roundup of free things to do. One day I’ll make it there.

  12. Ahh love this! I’m actually in the process of applying to a couple of Master’s programs in Copenhagen and this gave me some excellent motivation, ha.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Seriously? I’ve been applying for a Master’s degree in Czech Republic, France and Holland. Maybe we can meet up somewhere in Europe next year!

  13. Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans

    I’m really looking forward to visiting Copenhagen in March and I have most of these activities on our ‘to do’ list. Another free thing to add is a visit to the Botanical Garden which might be kind of cool to check out in cold weather.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Are you off to Copenhagen in March? Great news! I hope you’ll have a lot of fun! Share your experience with me afterwards!

  14. Becki | Backpacker Becki

    Another key city I’ve been meaning to get to for AGES now. Fab list which can be used as a start of grand exploration here!

  15. I chanced upon your site & I should say its pretty informative….thanks for all the tips n pics….I love travelling & have visited a a couple of places…hope to add in some more…I plan to visit cph this year, is march a good time to come by? Would 2dys suffice to see it all in cph? Accommodation seems quite expensive….do you know of any hostels or air bnb places that you would recommend? Thanks

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hi Giselle,

      Thank you so much for the kind words.Copenhagen is great to visit in March, April and May. It’s not too cold and it’s less overcrowded. Try to look for cheap accommodation online using Hostelworld. Hope you will have an amazing time there!

  16. Did you go to christiania on the east side of the river? One of the most bizarre places I’ve ever seen. Worth a visit that’s for sure!

  17. Hi Agness,

    I really liked Copenhagen (even if I only spent a day there).

    Did you know about Bakken? Apparently its the oldest operating amusement park in the world!Its free to get in but not free to go on the rides.

    We came up with a similar list on our new blog, glad to see you agree with some of our top picks!

    Chris

  18. The little mermaid is seriously underwhelming but langelinie (the pier promenade where it is) is nice, if somewhat touristy.

    Visit Christiania!!! Eat at one of the wierd little affordable (relatively, we are talking one of the most expensive cities in the world :) ) cafés, then take a walk and see all the strange and creative houses the inhabitants have build out there. If you have money left over you can always spend them in pusher street :)

    Also, the botanical garden right in the center of the city is a nice, green break from the bustling city.

  19. I didn´t get to visit Denmark’s National Museum while in Copenhagen, there were just so many things to do! Will include it onto my list next time!

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